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Lens Implant Corrects Severe Nearsightedness

Lens Implant Corrects Severe Nearsightedness

Posted - Sep. 13, 2004 at 9:24 p.m.



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Ed Yeates reportingAs of today, people can have a new lens impanted in their eye which corrects nearsighted vision.

The FDA approval comes after years of clinical trials at 22 medical centers, including the Moran Eye Center here in Utah.

For the first time, Scott Kurfmann can move around without wearing thick goggle-like glasses. With critical nearsightedness, his vision had been minus 18.

Scott Kurfmann: "If I had to read, well I couldn't. To ready, I would have to literally put my eye right on a piece of paper."

But a new generation lens was implanted in Scott's right eye in May, and another in his left eye two weeks ago.

He was seeing 20-70 out of one eye even before the stitches were removed.

At his home now, Scott can see all kinds of things he couldn't see before, like the textures on a wall or something as small as a piece of lint.

Scott keeps his Coke bottle glasses he wore several years ago only as a souvenir. He doesn't need them anymore.

And he's not alone. Out of 662 patients in the national clinical trials, 92 percent ended up with 20/40 or better vision. 44 percent had 20/20 or better.

The new lens is implanted in a natural open chamber behind the cornea, and in front of the iris. It never touches either side and nothing in the eye has to be reshaped, shaved or removed to make it work.

Majid Moshirfar, M.D. / Eye Surgeon, Moran Eye Center: "Having an implant for that group of people who are severely nearsighted, meaning between minus eight and minus twenty, those people with Coke bottle glasses, this would be a great thing for them."

The FDA does want a five year follow-up study to make sure the lenses are not damaging the cells in the cornea. In Utah's clinical trials, Dr. Majid Moshirfar has not seen that side effect.

Opthalmologists say they're seeing more people with severe nearsightedness, probably because a new generation of baby boomers are aging rapidly.

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